The Spanish neurologist Rafael González Redondo and his wife Carla di Caudo are working at the Dr. Horacio E. Oduber Hospital in Aruba. They arrived in May 2013 to cover a vacancy for one month. This extended to three months!
In October 2013 they came back for a permanent contract.
We asked Rafael about his experience in working at the neurology department at the Dr. Horacio E. Oduber Hospital (HOH). “In Aruba we attend the whole spectrum of neurological diseases in first line: at the emergency, at the office and also in admission. We have access to modern test and treatments, so we need to be updated and skillful in all areas of neurology.”
HOH is the reference hospital in Aruba, it is public and it has a strong ambition to improve quality of medical care according to the Dutch/European standards. It is expanding into a bigger building in the coming months.
“In neurology we make a big effort to improve permanently the care by acquiring new competences and teaching our nurses to get specialized in neurological patients. We have 18 beds in admission that we share with Rehabilitation and Neurosurgery departments. In the office we attend around 20 patients per day.”
“We work in an international team and learn a lot from each other. Different brains from different countries thinking together it is a guarantee of good results!
It is charming to work with colleagues you can rely on. We are only three neurologists in our department, looking for a fourth permanent colleague. The atmosphere is nice and familiar, inside the hospital and outside.”
Which languages are spoken at the department? “Patients use to prefer Papiamento language, but most of them also speak Dutch, English or Spanish. With our colleagues we speak English for medical discussions so that we can all understand each other. The administration and reports are mostly in Dutch. But I can tell the impressive variety of languages here it is not a problem in daily practice.”
We are curious if Rafael meets his collegues after work. "Well, we feel compenetrated in our work, but with one baby and my pregnant wife I cannot tell you much about the night-life of my colleagues... I just know it exists! But here there is a gorgeous environment to grow a family, indeed."
In Aruba medical specialist mostly work for a short period of time. How is the collaboration going? “It is enriching to meet colleagues from all ages and from different countries. However, we miss a fourth colleague willing to get permanently engaged in the development of our neurology department.”
“We need an open-minded and wide-spectrum neurologist. We have different units: movement disorders (with DBS and Botox), dementia, epilepsy/neurophysiology and pain management. We would like to reinforce them and to create new ones if possible, specifically neurophysiology and stroke units. Good ideas are always welcome!
I would invite you to come for a short period of 4-12 weeks to Aruba and accept the challenge to work with us. The main risk is you do not want to leave! It happened to us...”
What is your favorite place in Aruba? “I must recommend the wild beach of Dos Playa... No words needed”
Note: neurologists Carla di Caudo and Rafael González will return to Spain in December 2017. Therefore, we are looking to recruit three new colleagues.
Claudia Koning and Rafael González, January 2017